United Rentals targets export sales of used fleet

By Murray Pollok13 December 2013

United Rentals is to significantly boost export sales of used equipment from its fleet with a target for exports to increase from 5% to 30% of the total by 2018.

United, which currently has for sale 100000 items with an original cost of US$700 million, is aiming to reach emerging markets such as South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

The strategy, said Tim Rule, vice president of market development, is to create a market for excess fleet during downturns in North America and to act as a ‘relief valve’ during low utilization months.

“Our export sales so far have been opportunistic – people find us”, said Mr Rule, “Based on the demand we are seeing, we feel that through increasing the awareness of what we are offering, and making it easier for people to find us, we can meet that demand.”

United already has four dedicated export sales staff in place, including three based in Latin America. The existing online listings pages will be made available in multiple languages during 2014.

The focus will be on items that can be containerized for transport, limiting the size of products to, for example, 80 ft booms (knocked down) and smaller. Although there are 3000 product classes available to buy Mr Rule said there has been a particular demand for aerial platforms, with one recent order of 300 electric scissor lifts to a rental company in Hong Kong.

The 100000 items currently for sale includes 15000 aerial platforms and telehandlers, with 9000 scissors, 1500 booms and 3500 telehandlers available.

“We sell a lot of our equipment in Asia, markets like Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam”, he said.

Mr Rule pointed out that the vast amount of equipment currently for sale is normal for a fleet that has an original cost of more than $7 billion.

Of the 5% of fleet sales that are currently exported, around 46% goes to Latin American customers, followed by Asia with 30%. Within North America, 65% of used sales are retail, while 30% are ‘wholesale’, including manufacturer trade-ins and auctions.

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